Thursday, January 14, 2010

Norman Rockwell - Activity 3 Storytelling

This is part of the Norman Rockwell integration blog series. To gain access to all the blogs in this series, click the tag “Norman Rockwell”.

You are encouraged to try out these activities and to comment on the blogs, activities and ideas. You might even find that you can share other ways to integrate Rockwell into what you do! Your voice and ideas matter!

Muse Away!


Each of Rockwell’s paintings, undoubtedly tell a story. The characters, setting and plot are all there. Often the story blows through our mind in a moment and we move on to the next thing. But what might come of it if we stayed with a painting for longer and thought about the details of the picture, the expressions on the characters’ faces, the action in the scene? Well, a lot!

Use the NR Storytelling worksheet to help your students (and you) focus in on a painting and find the elements of a story. Fill it in and use it for a discussion or do one of the extension ideas.

Procedure: (review/short version)

  1. Have students look closely at the painting and allow for some time for first impressions and conversations about the characters and the situation.
  2. Ask students to take a closer look at the painting and state the prompt that allows them to find the elements of the story. For example:
  • What is going on in the painting?
  • Where is this taking place?
  • Who is present in the picture?
  • What are the characters thinking?
  • What might they be saying?
  • Is there a problem here?
  • What happened before this scene?
  • What is going to happen next?
  1. After a short introduction to the activity, invite students to work in small groups or on their own with a new painting. You may want students to complete the WORKSHEET.

Worksheet link:

Implementation Ideas: (review)

  • Have a copy of a painting for each student. (They do not have to be the same.)
  • Give students a copy to use in small groups.
  • Place copies of paintings around the room and have students do the activity while traveling from piece to piece in an “around the world” format.
  • Do a shared lesson or activity with your whole class or with a small group.
  • Create a center in your room where students can visit and complete the activity.

Extensions and Variations:

  • Have students use their worksheets to help them tell the story orally to a peer, a small group or to the class.
  • Display all the paintings used. Ask students to tell their story and have the other students figure out which painting was the inspiration.
  • Use the worksheet as a story plan and have students write out the story according to your directions.
  • Pick paintings that relate to a particular season, event or holiday. For example, choose a Christmas themed painting in December, a patriotic painting in time for Memorial Day, a family centered one for around Thanksgiving such as Freedom from Want, or for this month, use School Girl with U.S. Marshals as we observe Martin Luther King Day.

Other painting suggestions for kids: A Day in the Life of a Girl and A Day in the Life of a Boy. These two paintings tell a story in mini pictures.

Next Blog (due out on Saturday, January 16, 2010) – Why Practice Reading Skills Away from Reading?

Make a Comment - We want to hear from you. What do you think of this activity? Any extension or variation ideas? Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

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